More calls are answered by NPS Medicines Line pharmacists about antidepressants than any other class of medicine, the organisation said.
NPS clinical adviser Philippa Binns said depression is second only to high blood pressure as the most common chronic problem seen by Australian GPs, and two-thirds of people seeing their doctor for depression are given a prescription for antidepressants.
People who called Medicines Line about antidepressants most often wanted to know about the potential for interactions with other medicines when they taking an antidepressant, such as possible interactions with cough and cold preparations and complementary medicines.
They also asked what side effects they were likely to experience with antidepressants, whether problems they were experiencing might be related to their antidepressant medicines, and safety information about using these medicines in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
“Responses to antidepressants are quite individual, so what works well for one person may not for another,” Dr Binns said.“Under guidance from their health professional, some people will need to try more than one antidepressant in order to find the one that suits them best.”
The new NPS knowledge hub provides tips on finding the right treatment for individuals and what to do about side effects from an antidepressant; an A-Z listing of different antidepressant medicines with information about effectiveness, side effects, interactions, and who needs to take extra care with them; information on how to avoid side effects and symptoms when making changes, and an overview of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as well as lifestyle changes and other supportive treatments that can be of benefit.